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Mother in Laws arrival a blooming disaster


Second to lawyers, weatherman must rank high as a profession that you can least trust. Yet on a daily basis millions of people are glued to their TV’s, pour over the newsprint and surf the internet to read their latest predictions, most knowing full well that there is little chance of them being correct. This remains a science that has the same success rate as throwing dice.

For the past year weather predictions for the Garden Route have had weekly predictions of the seers in various weather bureau’s assuring a desperate population that the drought will be broken in the next few days. Announcements of ‘Rain and thunder storms with 60% probability’ regularly have evaporated into scorching 28 – 30 degree Celsius cloudless days.

On Sunday, scanning the usual websites (yes, I do look despite not believing) for the weather forecast for the week I joked with Amanda that we were going to have “drizzle with a 42% probability” on Monday. Passing some derogatory comment about weatherman, I discarded the information with more pressing concerns of my mother in laws arrival on Monday afternoon. There was a check list of things to clear up, get and prepare for her first visit since our wedding in April. While Amanda’s primary theme was that of tiding up, mine was of how to resurrect the garden.

In a quirk of nature, seemingly every bloom that I had spent the past month nurturing on a daily basis, watering with grey water from the dish washing, nocturnal watering with water pumped from the trickling river so that there was a better soaking into the soil, had decided to wilt and drop off. It seems that every bee in a 5 Km radius had successfully found my flowers, pollinated them, which over the week end collectively shed their petals and got down to producing seed. Gazania’s which had been in bloom for two weeks, had survived bouts of baboon foraging and Scarlett digging them up, together synchronized the dropping of their petals. The various geraniums and pelargonium’s that are scattered around the house also decided that the weekend was time to present seed instead of splashes of reds, mauves, pinks, lilac’s and indigo’s. Even our Wistringia’s and Collenema’s joined in the process of greening up. Most disappointing were our bushes of daisies, glowing beacons of yellow for the past two weeks, a collection of rusty brown heads by Sunday evening.

Amongst the plants there were a few stalwarts that bucked the trend. A border of Agapanthus, three beds of Marigold doubles, three potted geraniums and the three ‘mobile’ flower pots which are full of vibrant pansies and petunias. And the one lone fuchsia cutting, which among many, decided to initiate four flower buds. Well, at least Mum in Law can contemplate everything while ruminating on home grown spinach, onions, rocket and garlic.

Monday started early – a 10km run at 06h00, wash up, dusting and sending Amanda off to work before I got round to the important task of arranging pots for the best effect. And that is when it started, a gentle drizzle which then proceeded to increase in intensity, achieving in half an hour to water more plants than I had managed for 90 minutes the previous night. By mid day it had not let up. My first thought was “well someone got the drizzle and 42% probability” correct. What they did get wrong was the increase in intensity, it just got heavier. Obviously locals were not prepared for the rain, a domestic flight from Cape town aquaplaned while landing at George airport (35km away from the farm), overshot the runway, penetrated the perimeter fence, careered down an embankment and stopped on a local road. Fortunately only 4 occupants of the plane were injured. But the road has been closed while they figure out how to remove the aircraft.

Trish arrived late afternoon and settled into the B&B she is staying in (the guest room is not quite finished). When I arrived to greet her our 4×4 felt spongy on the waterlogged sand road where she is staying. When Amanda arrived she got struck in a soaked depression. Then miraculously at 18h30 the rain stopped and by 19h15 the setting sun peeped under the clouds and ignited the sky in a luminescent display of gold, peach and rosy yellow painted clouds. By 20h30 the sparkling Milky Way, accompanied by a choral cacophony of frogs, left you in doubt as to whether the day had been overcast at all, but stepping in a puddle on our way back to the car after dinner was a pleasant reminder of the much appreciated rain.

So with one roll of the dice a weather forecast was correct, one in two dozen. Still, frightfully poor odds for a profession that so many follow so closely.

So, the display of colour may be poor in the garden, but the arrival of the rain transcends the importance of a blooming garden. In fact we may even consider Trish to be Modjadji, the hereditary Rain Queen of the Balobedu, people of the Limpopo province, incentive enough to have her visit more regularly. Now that I think of it, the last real rain we had was just before our wedding when she was last down here.…..

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another great and interesting blog,CG.How disappointing to lose your display of flowers,but how you must have welcomed the rain,even though it was so heavy.I agree with you about weather forecasting,very hit and miss,especially the long term ones.I take each day as it comes now,and act accordingly.Hope your mother in law enjoys her stay,it made me smile when you commented about the rain when she visits.You will have to invite her more often,to save you doing so much watering,as she is obviously a good omen for the garden.:o))

8 Dec, 2009


Pleased you got some rain at last.Did the plants get a good long drink?

8 Dec, 2009


Love the blog!

8 Dec, 2009


Thanks for a peek into your garden and the trials of having too little rain!

I'm suffering from too much, as are other members over here! I can't get into the garden at all at the moment, so some of your sunshine would be very welcome, please. :-))))

8 Dec, 2009


~ you don't know how much rain we have had and are having here~ would love some of your lovely warm sunshine!
i am glad for you though~ all your plants will think they are in heaven after their bath!

8 Dec, 2009

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